What is one of the best things you can do in life? The answer to that question for this articles purpose is to learn from others mistakes so you don’t have to learn from your own. That applies to just about everything in life including doing your own ammunition reloads. Making mistakes when you are reloading cartridges and shells can cost you time, money and leave you with underperforming ammunition.
That is why I am going to take the time to share a few helpful tips and secrets with you about handloading ammunition that I have learned over the years.
6 Helpful Reloading Tips
Here are some important tips that have helped me over the years as I have increased my reloading knowledge and learned to create more accurate and reliable ammunition:
Make sure you own a reloading manual
There is a reason I chose this as my first tip and it’s because I think it’s the most important one. Without a doubt, there is so much good information out there as far as reloads are concerned that you couldn’t possibly learn all of it. A reloading manual is a great reference source when you have a reloading question, want to try a new powder formula or are interested in experimenting with different types of reloads.
Many reloading manuals will even include such things as reloading press reviews and contact numbers for the biggest reload product manufacturers.
Think of your reloading manual as if it were a cookbook. Are you more likely to make a meal everyone one will like from a proven recipe in a cookbook or if you throw everything together from scratch? You get the idea here so go get yourself a reputable reloading manual if you don’t already have one. This is especially true if you are a novice reloader.
Have a balance beam scale on hand
When you are doing ammunition reloads accuracy in measuring is so important and this is even truer when it comes to adding gunpowder. Sure I use digital scales because they are easy and I have to admit they are fairly accurate. I find though that from time to time I like to test the accuracy of the digital scales I use and I do that by periodically checking their powder loads with a balance beam scale.
Use the same brass casings in the same gun
This is what is known as fire forming. That simply means that when you fire a rifle or handgun the brass tends to heat up and form itself to the inside of the chamber in that particular gun. Experts say that with a fire formed casing it will be more effective (especially in rifles) if used in the same gun and reshaped with a neck-only sizing die.
Test your revolver reloads with a cartridge gauge
If you are doing reloads for a revolver it’s critical that they are shaped and sized right so they fit in the chamber properly. Needless to say, if you have a round that is even a little out of shape it can be very difficult to load and get you frustrated when you are at the range. An easy way to avoid this problem is to buy a cartridge gauge and check all of your reloads as you box them up. If they fit in the opening of your cartridge gauge they will also fit easily in the chamber of your revolver.
Never store powder in the measuring hopper
This is one of the most common mistakes that many people who hand reload do. It simply is not good for your equipment. In a few hours, the chemicals found in gunpowder mixes do not harm the plastic that most hoppers are made of. The problem is that if the gunpowder mix is in the hopper for several days or even overnight it will start to react with and ruin the plastic hopper fairly quickly. So always empty the plastic hopper when you are finished reloading.
Visit a tire service center for a cheap source of slug material
Are you a person that likes to cast your own slugs? Not everyone is into doing that but those that do can save quite a bit of money as opposed to paying for ever more expensive shotgun shells. Not to mention it’s kind of fun to experiment with different slug shapes and sizes.
One way I have found you can save a bunch of money on slug material is to visit a local tire service center. Those cast wheel weights they often have just lying around in abundance can be melted down to make excellent slugs. They may sell them to you cheap or just give them to you if you are a customer of theirs.
Even More Good Advice in Your Reloading Manual
It takes more than just the best reloading press to be successful at reloading. This is some good advice here so consider it seriously if it applies to you. Much of this information is right in your reloading manual too. That is why we stress owning one of these handy information sources so much. Every little tip and trick you learn about reloading helps you avoid making reloading mistakes and also will help you produce better performing reloads.